"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders

Ed note: After a summer filled with cruising along the Mediterranean and conducting final preparations for their big voyage, Scott and Mary Flanders left this weekend for the Canary Islands - their first stop in their great adventure that takes them from Gibraltar to New Zealand by way of Cape Horn. The Flanders will be keeping us updated on their journey with weekly log reports for the duration of their 18-month cruise.

September 27, 2006

Underway again. Egret had a nice downhill romp to Las Palmas, Grand Canaria from Gibraltar. It was a 708nm trek with great weather. The good news is the Floscan totalizer was accurate so hopefully will be repeatable in the future. The last bit of the voyage was with the current so we had to throttle back to 1100RPM to slow so we would arrive after daybreak. The procedure on arrival at the marina is to tie up to the fuel dock and await berth assignment. The first dock hand arrived after an hour and told us they were full and had been turning away boats for weeks. A few minutes later the harbor master arrived, had a little conversation with the dockie, and gave us a a berth on a floating dock behind the fuel dock. They couldn't have been nicer during our week there stopping by every day. Pedro, the owner of the fuel concession and mini mart said "su especial". Apparently they liked our little ship. One hundred euros for the week including electricity and water. Our kind of deal.

The next day Steve Lawrence, our friend and crew member arrived. Steve was exhausted from a week long dash back and forth from Minnesota to Denver to Minnesota to Chicago to Madrid to Las Palmas. Dinner and a couple of San Miguels later, Steve left our world until morning.

We rented a car and explored the island. Grand Canaria's east coast is arid with little vegetation however in the inland mountainous region it is much like places in Utah with beautiful red rock formations, pines, and cedar trees. We piled on the kilometers driving a number of the little secondary roads in the interior. We had a great cold plate lunch along the way. Lunch was a seafood salad with octopus, artichokes, mussels, calamari, etc. along with big hunks of fresh bread. Mary and Steve had beer, the driver got water - groan. Great day.

Another evening we had fishermen in a 16' outboard come in the narrow cove between Egret and the next dock about 50' away. There were small bait dimpling on the surface. They tied their net to a boat across and quickly let out their net in a circle between our boats. They tied the other end of the net and began to furiously pull the bottom line of the purse net. This is hard work with no stopping. Both were huffing and puffing with the three of us watching and cheering them on. After the purse (bottom of the net) was drawn they slowly pulled the net into the boat and flaked it in two neat piles. Finally they were down to the last little bit of net floats the boat owner started dipping "sardinas" in by the net full. We estimated they netted at least 200lbs of sardines. When they were finished Mary handed them a bag with two cold San Miguels (Spanish beer) inside telling them this was a 'regalo' (present). They in turn gave us a bag of about eight pounds of still flopping sardinas. What a great experience and nice friendly people. Experiences like this are priceless.

Yesterday, Tues, Sept 26th, we did our final provisioning of fresh goodies and a few days meat preparing for today's departure. Knuckles dragging the ground by the time we got back with our booty along with an overstuffed 'Barcelona' cart we treated ourselves to a last minute internet fix to see our grandson's 11th month pictures and a beer at the local pub.

We have decided to put back the final departure to Brazil for a few days and visit the Canary island of la Gomera. La Gomera is the tiny island where Columbus departed from on his three voyages of discovery including the BIG one. The church where he and his crew prayed is still standing so the Egret crew will visit as well and light a candle for our personal voyage of discovery. La Gomera is an awkward distance from Las Palmas so we will anchor tonight off the beach on the south end of Tenerife Island then on to La Gomera tomorrow.

Currently Egret is steaming down sea in gentle 4' swells at 1350 RPM, 6.4 knots, 8.7 knots apparent wind burning about 1.6gph. Our position is N28 08.17 W15 55.22 (33.45nm to go before our waypoint in Tenerife). It is a beautiful day with few clouds except over the islands, 78 degrees in the pilothouse, Mary and Steve are doing their nap chores. Life is good.

Scott, Mary and Steve

September 17, 2006

The past 24 hours have been special. Special enough to pass on just the inspiration for future long distance voyagers. Egret was sailing along under a quarter moon and a blanket of stars you only seem to see at sea. Even with a quarter moon the ocean was illuminated. Phosphorescence was pouring off the bow wave like a billion sparkling emeralds per mile. It was the most we had ever seen. Casablanca, Morocco was a glow in the far distance off to port. (If we would have started five years earlier we would have made a hard turn to port to explore that multicultural city.) It is a big world with a lot to see but we have to pick and choose.

Today the wind and waves, actually sea swells, moved around behind the beam and now just off the stern and we are flying. The last we looked it was 8.4 knots. We had pushed the throttle up to 1500 rpm from 1400 earlier this morning to counter a certain sea. There are times when you actually get better mileage by going faster and burning more fuel per hour. This seems counter productive at first glance but here is theoretical math. 8.4 knots at 2.1 gph = 4 mpg. 6.9 knots at 1.8 gph = 3.82 mpg There is no hard and fast rule as there is no same wave but with a digital tach to very accurately measure rpm and a Floscan fuel flow meter or better yet the small Nordhavn reporting tank on top of the day tank for just this purpose. Sight gauges never lie and our experience with Floscan on our very low gph is inaccurate. (We are currently running a 704 mile test on the Floscan totalizer to check its accuracy) Floscans on higher usage engines are accurate after calibration. There are certain performance plateaus with each boat model. Egret is more susceptible to bow drop between close waves than newer designs so more rpms means more stern squat and less bow drop.

If we can maintain 7.4 knots through Tuesday afternoon we will arrive a full day early. Days like today we don't care if we ever come in, however there are other factors. There are times when an extra knot or two would be nice. We do increase speed when necessary unless we are stretching fuel long distance. With this Voyage of Egret I will include our latest weather from Bob at OMNI Weather. This is reality for this trip. Note the front sweeping down from Iceland. We don't get this detailed information on our grib files. This is a perfect example of additional safety and comfort from a professional router.


Weak high pressure ridging persists from south of the Azores eastward to just south of Gibraltar. A cold front is moving eastward across the NE Atlantic and is currently crossing the Azores. This front will weaken as it pushes further eastward through tonight and Sunday. High pressure ridging will continue to prevail with the high cell south of Azores on Monday tending to weaken again Mon/eve-night as a new, but stronger cold front moves south/east toward the Azores through Tue/19th. The cold front is associated with a gale to storm low developing south of Iceland near 56N20W through Wed/morning.

As the low pushes across the Azores and the eastern Atlantic through Wed/am, the prevailing ridge pattern will gradually loosen its grip on the waters from Gibraltar to Gran Canaria and a more NW-WNW wind/sea pattern will become more dominant and swells will begin to build as you are making your approaches to Gran Canaria on Wed.

Sat/16: NW-NNW 05-12kt, Waves 1-2ft, up to 3ft toward the eve-night. Swell: WNW-NW 5-7ft.
Sun/17: NNW-NNE 10-15kts, more NE at times Sun/pm, waves 2-3ft. Swell NW-WNW
5-7ft. Swells could ease to 4-6ft toward Sun/night.
Mon/18: NNW-NNE 08-14kts, waves 2-3ft. NW-WNW 4-6ft, possibly lowering to
4-5ft thru Mon/pm.
Tue/19: NNW-NNE 07-13kts, waves 2-3ft. WNW-NW 4-5ft, building to 6-7ft
toward Tue/eve-night.
Wed/20 - Las Palmas: N-NW, backing more WNW near/at Las Palmas Wed/pm;
10-15kts. Swells building NW 6-8ft, up to 9ft possible north approaches of
Gran Canaria by late Wed/night.

We will continue to watch daily. Our next scheduled update will be Mon/18th (by 1100GMT). B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

Please note this a favorable forecast. Egret is traveling basically SSW with seas aft of the beam. Ocean swells are far apart and gentle. Your boat simply rides up and down with the stabilizers taking out most motion. It is the waves on top that are the issue and here as you can see the waves are inconsequential.

Within a day of Las Palmas the fishing lines will go out. Egret's freezer is packed but the fridge is nearing empty sooooo we can catch one tuna or dolphin (mahi mahi) for ourselves and to share with other cruisers. We'll see.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

It is 1206 PM. M/V Egret is 37.8nm off the west coast of Morocco steaming on a course of 232 degrees at 6.6 knots, 1400 rpm, 1.8gph. There are 6-8' sea swells on the beam with a little wind chop on top. Mr Naiad is handling that nicely. Las Palmas, Grand Canaria (Canary Islands) lies 603nm ahead.

After hauling to install line cutters in Sotogrande, Spain this week Egret departed with a perfectly clean bottom and virtually everything aboard as good as it can be. Mary wiped the entire bottom with a very green towel removing the little slime we had grow on our Turkish bottom paint. I gave the bottom a 'yacht brokers' bottom job. This is painting a belly band and the bow area. I made an exact pattern for the v-block line cutter mount using digital micrometers and a compass. The Spanish worker cut up my beautiful work with a dull pair of scissors for a pattern. (a weed eater would have done better) I drew arbitrary 6mm mounting holes figuring they would space them correctly. First the piece came back looking like someone gnawed the piece out of stainless plate. Second they put the holes where I drew them. We don't tolerate sloppy work on Egret however we had firmed up our insurance and were really ready to go. I installed the piece myself. They probably would have used roofing nails and bathtub caulk. It is strong, not pretty.

The bright spot in the last couple weeks is Egret's knight in shining armor arrived (probably in casual business dress). Al Golden of IMIS insurance wrapped up in four days what others couldn't do in 2 months. Egret is insured under their 'Jackline' program. Al is a real boater and understands long distance cruisers. Others flock to the white Clorox bottle marina queens who disappear in hurricanes, marina fires or driven into mayhem by clueless operators. Long distance cruisers rarely have these issues. Al has Egret's vote.

Egret took the first in many steps to New Zealand yesterday by fueling in Gibraltar. We took on a little over 1000 gallons at the wonderful price, for the Med, of $2.41/gal. This will be the last inexpensive fuel until Usuhuia, Argentina where they have subsidized fuel. We also have 150 gallons of fuel in a bladder on the foredeck and 45 or so gallons behind the Portuguese bridge. This a 704nm stability test (to the Canaries) for the extra weight on deck. We also have an additional 100 gal bladder for the cockpit and will use it if this works out. Obviously this is a big compromise but we VERY much don't want to stop at the Cape Verdies on the 3100nm trek to Brazil (from Las Palmas). We can use the stretch in a couple of other places down the road as well. I might add, we don't NEED to do this but it is a matter of safety. The Verdies in addition to their usual problems have been hit with a 108mph hurricane last month to add to their dilemma. The safety issue is simply not stopping. Egret burns about 40 gallons of fuel a day when stretching. Within our departure weather forecast the majority of fuel will be in Egret's tanks and off the deck.

The Egret crew left Gibraltar without the slightest bit of trepidation. We have prepared so long, have tended to so many details the actual thought of setting off on this wonderful voyage of personal discovery is exciting beyond exciting. I will say it started slowly. VERY slowly. The absolute first and last rule for departing Gib is YOU LEAVE WITH THE TIDE!!!!! Wellll, we left. However, it was the beginning of the flood. From 6.2 knots to .8 knots in 6 miles. Major groan. The good news the 25-30 knots of wind was with the tide so we had 2' seas. The other good news is we saw a green flash when the sun set! Beautiful. Must be an omen. Whatta you think?

The departure forecast from Bob at OMNI weather said once we turned the NW corner of Morocco we would have a 12 hour bounce. We did. He did say it will get better all the way to the Canaries. It far. Thank you Bob Bob was recommended to us by Milt and Judy Baker aboard Bluewater, Nordhavn 47-32. BW left the Caribbean this spring for Bermuda with three other boats with three different professional forecasters. Bob was the most accurate and timely with reports.

After Egret's stay in the Canaries and pick up our friend and capable crewman, Steve Lawrence, we will take the looooong step. Mary and I invite you to join the Egret crew on this adventure. It will be a wild ride.


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